Casino Owners like Benny Binion and Pappy Smit Knew How to Make you Feel Welcome

With all the glitz and glamour in casinos, there is something missing.

Casinos costing in the high millions or even billions are being constructed around the world. Fountains, pillars, flashing neon signs that can be viewed for miles and lavish entertainment are offered to the public.

But in most of the casinos, there is something missing.

Benny Binion and Pappy Smith knew what that ingredient was and they supplied it to their customers. It made Binion's Horseshoe on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas and Harold's Club in Reno, NV ('the Biggest Little City in the World') stand out above their competition.

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The personal touch.

That is what is lacking in most casinos. You can train and hire employees to do all the jobs that are required to keep a 24-hour casino operational. But if you fail to give that casino a personal touch and let the public know you care beyond the bottom line, then something is missing.

Like all gamblers, I have had some bad experiences in casinos. I had an especially bad one at Downstream Casino in Quapaw, OK., a casino that I frequented for years. It was typical of the experiences some people have when they overspend and don't plan for the consequences.

I won't go into details of what happened -- this experience occurred years ago and I have largely forgotten it. But I will tell you how Benny Binion would have solved the problem. He would have ruled in favor of the player.

Benny never sent a customer away from his casino broke.

If a customer who has lost a lot of money came to him or Pappy Smith for help, These casino owners would not have sloughed off their request. They would have listened to the problem and then would have done something about it. They gave it the personal touch.

Right now casinos are doing well financially. Their shareholders are happy, the casinos are making money, and there seems to be no ceiling to the future. All well and good.

But with the global economy as fragile as sit seems to be, things can change. What is up one moment can be down the next.

It is the public's money that makes a casino go. People enter those doors past smiling security officers and cameras that view their every move. They wander among hundreds of slot machines, choose their favorite, try their luck at blackjack or roulette, or test their options at the dice table.

They sit in at a poker game, make their buy-in and play to win.

When I played at the Horseshoe during Benny's reign, it was always a pleasure to see him strolling through the casino. He always wore that big coat, a Stetson and a grin. He would shake hands of the players, congratulate winners and buy drinks for losers. He always did it with a smile and a wink..

Pappy Smith enjoyed wandering among the gamblers at Harold's Club and changing the odds to having his blackjack dealers reveal their hole cards. It really didn't make that much of a difference but it did give the player an edge. People felt Pappy and the other employees cared about them and that is why they kept coming back and giving Harold's Club and the Horseshoe their action.

Gambling is a fun way to live. It can also become dangerous and destructive to some individuals. Casino owners need to realize this and must add the personal touch if they are hoping to keep the loyalty of their customers. The games are the action, but it's the people who keep bringing you back. Let the games begin.

“The personal touch”

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